Virtual Smirtual!

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SO.

Suffice it to say, 2020 has not been quite as advertised. Going into the second week of ‘social distancing’ and general quarantine-esque…ness, I am learning lots of things about myself that all point in the same unsurprising direction: I was not designed for isolation. I suspect I maaaaay not be alone in this. (That said, however, one bright spark thrown out between the cracks of wall-to-wall misery has to be the endless memes and videos. Turns out, technology + an unexpectedly large amount of indoor time = some pretty hilarious creativity. Well done, guys.)

But the question a single gal has to ask herself  in these trying times is this: what will potentially months of not being allowed outside do to the world of online dating? I mean, yes, we have all this technology now which makes being indoors a lot easier to deal with but sweet baby Beelzebub, can you imagine carrying on this texting and chatting malarky for weeks – maybe months – on end? Because, let’s be honest, the perils of online dating are absolutely amplified now and they come with a brand new set of conundrums.

Let’s imagine you match with someone online. You are now essentially faced with one of four possible outcomes:

Scenario 1: You start off with the whimsy and get trapped in it for eternity. Long arduous months of sparky, rom-com worthy chat that escalates into both of you becoming the online equivalent of manic-pixie-dream-pals. You exist entirely in a universe of hilarious but inane chatter that collapses under the weight of its own pointlessness when you finally meet.

Scenario 2: It starts off well. You get chatting, you vibe, you find the conversational sweet-spot – a perfect balance of charming eccentricity and soul-baring honesty. Then you agree to a skype call and the first introduction the other person has to you is a badly lit frozen screenshot of your 14 chins and what looks like a squint. Because I guarantee you, you could look like Ryan Gosling and this would still be your fate. Video chat is a friend to no-one.

Scenario 3: You get stuck in an endless cycle of ‘Hey, how’s your day’, culminating in everyone involved dying of boredom.

Scenario 4: The opening salvo is a dick pic. Because pandemic or no, that guy will outlive us all.

Now, I know what you’re thinking here. You’re thinking “Sam, that is ridiculous. Suggesting there are only four possible outcomes for this is nihilism to the nth degree and you are wrong. There are lots of ways that online dating can still work out – just you wait and see.”

First of all, kudos on the use of nihilism – a criminally underused term in this trying age.

And second of all, maybe you’re right. Let’s face it, all we’ve got right now is time and it will most certainly tell. Mayhap (that’s right, I said mayhap. I’m not taking it back.)…mayhap this shitbird pandemic will do for online dating what it’s done for the NHS and the service industry by shining a light on the unsung heroes in our midst. Mayhap (not sorry) out of the ashes of cancelled coffee dates will rise a phoenix unlike anything we have heretofore witnessed. It will be a heartfelt, witty, charming beast that is patient, kind and – most importantly of all – thoroughly washes it hands and stays indoors like the good bird it is. It will adjust to the new normal with alacrity, giving birth to a new age of dating where people don’t mind dodgy camera angles and all can tread safely and confidently on the path between whimsy and tedium.

Oooor it’ll just send you a feathery dick pic.

I, for one, look forward to finding out.

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